High-performance Si microwire photovoltaics

Michael D. Kelzenberg, Daniel B. Turner-Evans, Morgan C. Putnam, Shannon W. Boettcher, Ryan M. Briggs, Jae Yeon Baek, Nathan S. Lewis, Harry A. Atwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Citations (Scopus)


Crystalline Si wires, grown by the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) process, have emerged as promising candidate materials for low-cost, thin-film photovoltaics. Here, we demonstrate VLS-grown Si microwires that have suitable electrical properties for high-performance photovoltaic applications, including long minority-carrier diffusion lengths (Ln ≫ 30 m) and low surface recombination velocities (S ≪ 70 cm·s-1). Single-wire radial p-n junction solar cells were fabricated with amorphous silicon and silicon nitride surface coatings, achieving up to 9.0% apparent photovoltaic efficiency, and exhibiting up to ∼600 mV open-circuit voltage with over 80% fill factor. Projective single-wire measurements and optoelectronic simulations suggest that large-area Si wire-array solar cells have the potential to exceed 17% energy-conversion efficiency, offering a promising route toward cost-effective crystalline Si photovoltaics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-871
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution

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